Monday, December 01, 2003


It's been said that's it is easier to balance the California state budget than it is tame a wild piker. Well, while Governor Ahhnold and his peops are still working on solving the budget crisis in between sets of bench presses and squats, this Piker is in the process of becoming domesticated. This past weekend, Piker and My Girl took a trip down to the local Lowe's and bought a lawn mower. Piker proceeded to put the machine together and mow his first lawn. That's right, Piker had never mowed the lawn before. To be fair, Piker never once saw his Dad mow a lawn either and therefore was never taught how to mow a lawn. And then, in college, while pledging a predominantly Jewish fraternity, Piker sat back with the rest of his pledge class and watched as the ultra-hardworking non-Jew mowed the front lawn of the fraternity house with a full-length cast on his broken leg. But things have changed now. Piker is now in the market for a quality edging-device so the lawn can be done right.

As if that wasn't enough to accomplish in a weekend, Piker sacrificed the first three and half quarters of the Sunday football games -- despite the still-relatively-new access to DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket -- to do some yardwork. And Piker isn't talking about digging up some little holes to plant some pretty flowers or anything. Piker is talking about wielding a sledgehammer to demolish an unwanted concrete pathway running below the porch and to break up a circular brick-walled planter. Piker even borrowed a pry bar from the neighbor and used it to help remove the sidewalk-like pathway. Piker sheared some geraniums and dug up the roots to clear out space for new beautiful things to be planted in its place. Oh, that's right, Piker did some shit this weekend.

Now, Piker is not sure about his, but the whole weekend could have been a reaction to spending the previous week with My Girl, My Girl's Brother, and My Girl's Mom (who was in from out of town and staying with us for the week). That family's extreme work ethic shone a giant spotlight on Piker's slug-like nature. Those one or two readers who do not know Piker personally must be told that Piker essentially has an allergy to work. There are times when Piker swallows a pill akin to Claritin and suffers through a freelance job here and there, but if all work and no play make Johnny a dull boy, let's just say Piker is anything but dull. So, Piker pitched in a bit as My Girl and My Girl's Mom painted the living room, dining room, and kitchen last week while My Girl's Brother took the heavy oak front door off its hinges, stripped all the paint off, filled in some of the wood, sanded it, and prepared it to be varnished. Oh, and My Girl's Brother also used spackle and wood filler to repair the crumbling archway separating our living room and dining room, then painted it. And then he came back yesterday to help us out by removing some bushes, assessing our sprinkler situation, and starting work on installing cable boxes in the wall to hide the wires running all over the house. My Girl's Brother is obviously a nice guy who is very unselfish and enjoys working on houses and stuff. He also happens to own the greatest mutt I've ever met named Tool. Tool is a highly alert animal who listens when you talk to him, has an impressive vocabulary, and obeys his master. Also, Tool prefers the company of humans to other dogs, loves to rip and shred empty cardboard boxes, sleeps under the covers, and has a slightly better work ethic than Piker. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, Piker must clarify a few things. For one, Piker is very appreciative of the generosity, hard work, and pleasant demeanor found in My Girl's Family, greatly admires their collective work ethic, and likes spending time with them. Secondly, Piker actually enjoyed accomplishing so much this weekend. Breaking up a sidewalk and brick wall with a sledgehammer, while tiring, is a lot of fun. And mowing the grass, like watching the Dolphins rout the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, gave Piker a tremendous feeling of satisfaction and pride.

As I type, hardwood floors are being installed in our living room and dining room, and much more work remains on the house. Piker is determined to continue to defy his suburban Jewish aversion to doing work usually reserved for goyim. Work still remains Piker's least favorite word in the English language (trabajo is Piker's least favorite word in Spanish), however, slowly but surely Piker is learning that a healthy sweat from hard work only serves to enhance the relaxation of watching football, chilling to tunes on the iPod, and playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the PlayStation. It's not so much that Piker is changing his nature, so much as it is Piker maturing a bit and becoming a real adult.

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